Posts Tagged ‘humor’

2018, A Year in Silliness

Posted: January 3, 2019 in Blog
Tags: , ,

A couple of years ago, I did a blog post that was just a collection of silly social media posts that I had put up in the previous year. People enjoyed it and I enjoyed doing it, so I decided we needed a repeat performance. I hope it brings you a few chuckles. It certainly did for me.

I notice on some of the dog groups I belong to that people often give their dog a voice using baby talk. After I noticed that, I realized that if I were to “voice” Mylo, she would sound like an indignant Dame Maggie Smith. And Chip would sound like Gomer Pyle.

I always feel thinner when I take the trash out.
Admit it. You do too.

Step one. Make a Roo. Ok. But what does this have to do with making a cheese sauce?

Roo

 

The 2018 goal (cuz it’s not a resolution): To try to find the humor in more things.
You have been warned.

I’m trying a new technique for bonding with the dogs. Every time they get up to go into the kitchen, I follow them. So far, it’s working very well.

The nice man at Home Depot just showed me how to change out electrical outlets and light switches. I can’t wait to blow my eyebrows off!

The highlight of today- I was visiting a friend’s house and I put hand lotion on my alligator paws while I was in the bathroom. Then I realized I was unable to turn the doorknob and was stuck in the bathroom. I knocked on the inside of the door and started calling, “Kellie? Jules? Brittney? Crystal? Can someone open the door? Let me out?” No one answered, so I called Kellie’s cell. Around then, my hosts and their friends started looking for me but I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t even answer the first time they called for me.
Yeah. And I’m going to change light switches and electrical outlets. As soon as I figure out how doorknobs work!

Best conversation this week–

Karol: “I bought a copy of the Stonewall documentary to show the kids at group but someone stole it when it was delivered. Can you believe someone would steal a movie right from the front of my house?”

Me: “Can you imagine the surprise of the person who stole it? They probably thought they were walking away with a porn flick with lesbians in giant hair and nails like manicured daggers waiting for whatever delivery guy with bad 70s jazz playing in the background, and they got a documentary about the queers throwing molotov cocktails in Greenwich Village!”

I woke up at 4 a.m. mumbling, “Thank you for being here. The sign-in table is just over there.” Do I even have to tell you that those lazy bones dogs did not get up and sign in?

While watching the winter Olympics–Yeah. Watch me do a triple-triple. In my house, that’s when I trip over all three of my feet and knock three things off the counter on the way to the kitchen.

How I see myself as a social work advocate. grizzly

How I suspect others see me as a social work advocate.

muppet bear

Children, gather round. It is now time for Uncle Nando’s annual tradition of buying and planting something in the berry family….blue or rasp…so I can forget where I put it and mow over the teeny sticks in June.

Things that make me go hmmmm at 3 am…If a reporter from only one newspaper shows up at an event, is he considered a member of the medium?

I don’t know if it was meant to, but all of this talk of bracket busting inspired me so I tore some curtains down.

Chip has a nice smile–kind of like a game show host. I think he might be the Chuck Barris of doggy daytime TV.

My aquatic prowess is impressive. I move like a manatee with a hangover.”

Lindsey Vonn tore her ACL and now she’s in her 6th Olympics competition. I tore my ACL and now stairs frighten me. Go figure.

Creeping Charlie would be more aptly named Running The Hell All Over the Place Charlie.

It’s Lesbian Day of Visibility 2018. If I get anymore visible, NASA will be able to view me from space.

While presenting at the PADS staff meeting today–
Carolyn: “And please don’t hesitate to interrupt us and ask us questions. Even just half questions that you’re still working on how to word. Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself. What is said here, stays here.”
Me: “I’m going to come at this from a point of view I learned from my sister-in-law. There are no strangers, only friends I haven’t met yet. And since we’re all friends, I’m planning to go out of my way to embarrass myself.”

Went to see the new Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen movie. Afterward, folks were choosing which characters they related to. We had two Candice Bergens, one Jane Fonda, one Mary Steenburgen. Then someone asked me which character I would be.
“Unfortunately in THAT line up, I am Dr. Derrick–the man from The Princess Bride.”

Sometimes I like to tell Chip about the day he found me, lost and wandering around Tails Humane Society, and he took me to the desk and paid them all of the milkbones he had in his pockets to keep me and then I was his person. He likes that bedtime story.

Urban legend research:
June 26, 1963
It is rumored that JFK’s best cold war speech, given his pronunciation and his accent, was a declaration that he was, in fact, a jelly doughnut. And apparently proud of it.
This tickles me. Stories conflict about whether he really said it, but even the idea tickles me.

On the phone, trying to refill Chip’s insulin syringe prescription.
Very polite automated system: “Sorry. This phone number is not associated with that prescription number.”
Really? Has he been calling in the refills himself on a different line for three years?

Indiana Jones movies…the reason I was confused as a young queerling. It’s Pride month, y’all!

It’s possible that the agency you work for is just too gay when a board member mentions starting an event with a champagne toast and one of the staff says, “Champagne Toast! Yassssss! That’s my new drag name!”

“Tell me the story about the day when I was only half a dog high and you took me to that little visiting room and I climbed up on you and fell asleep and you knew you were my person???”35082691_10213910996362563_4734562726368509952_o (1)

Youth Outlook’s 20th anniversary is coming up quickly so I am already figuring out what to wear. It’s formal this year. So I have decided on a black table skirt, tube socks, green stilettos (to go with our theme) and, of course(so I don’t hurt myself), Yak Tracks.

I’ve often thought that Mylo is smarter than I am. In the meantime, Chip is out in the yard, eating dirt. We’re a well-rounded family.

Jurassic World…I don’t think I’ve ever been more distressed over an imaginary brontosaurus during a volcanic eruption that never happened on an island that does not exist.

Great cloud formations on the drive home! I saw a unicorn, the dude who claps the coconuts in Search for the Holy Grail, one of the M&M guys, and Timon and Pumba.

Youth Outlook volunteer: “Nance, I can’t do that meeting ’cause I have concert tickets.”
Me: “Oh, ok. Who’s playing?”
Youth Outlook volunteer: “Jimmy Eat World.”
Me: “That’ll be fun!”
Pause.
Youth Outlook volunteer: “Uhhh…you actually know who that is?”
Me: “Yep, I play their 45s on my old phonograph with the crank handle.”
Don’t mess with me, son. I invented being a smart ass.

A new definition for faceturbating. (Did you know there was an old definition?)
Anyway.
Faceturbating: [FAYS-ter-bayting]
noun; the practice of trolling people you do not know on social media (usually the friend of a friend) by posing what appears to be a valid question so that you can them how wrong they are when they answer and start an argument

Verb; the act of getting off on telling people you do not know how wrong they are with the intention of starting an argument

Variation— Faceturbator: noun; a person who engages in Faceturbating

Today it was mansplained to me that I’m a little bit crazy for thinking that Roe v Wade could be overturned and that Stormy Daniels might not go away easily, potentially putting her at risk of further arrest, harassment or even injury. After 32 years in the mental health field, thank god there was a man to tell me what I think on social issues.

Me: “I think I broke the lawnmower. It doesn’t self-propel anymore. It just me-propels.”
Brian: “Let me take a look.”
I am so in awe of the rare species Humanamus Fixemupalus!

I spent the night tearing up old socks to make bandages for the Second Civil War and then some smart ass handed me a bottle of Liquid Bandage.

I tried this outfit today but it was so hot, the grapes turned into raisins.carmen miranda

The portajohns on 88 have all blown over. Now THERE’s a job no one is going to want.

My friend Andrea’s dog, Finn, goes to the library and lets little kids read to him and might be an extra in a movie.
Chip dug a crater in the back yard and ate a bee.
I’m so proud.

There’s a box with a unicorn head poking out of it in my garage. Every time I park, I feel like I’m in a queer version of The Godfather.

I bought some cedar blocks to leave in my dresser drawer because I like them. Now I’m being followed by three homeless gerbils who think I smell familiar. If you see me today, try to avoid mentioning it.

Attention, Walmart shoppers. There is a dog wearing Buddy Holly sunglasses panhandling at the parking lot entrance. I repeat. Dog. Buddy Holly sunglasses. Panhandling. That is all.
Really…that was quite enough!

Watched an infomercial with the sound off. If I understood correctly, if I buy THAT product right now (!), I can look like Cindy Crawford at 53. Or a cantaloupe. I’m not sure. They kept showing me both. Since I didn’t look like Cindy Crawford in my 20s, I doubt I can look like her now. Therefore, Cindy Crawford is trying to sell me something to make me look like a cantaloupe.

Some of my friends are such good allies to the LGBT community, I forget sometimes that they aren’t LGBT themselves. They’re not queer. They’re close to everything queer but they don’t live here. They’re the suburbs of Queer.

Put my spex on and they broke in half. I now have two monocles with ear pieces. It’s a very distinguished look.

I’ll need a quart of pumpkin spice gasoline for the lawn mower. I get confused at this time of year…

Kurt: “Are you going to complete the outfit with a petite clutch?
Me: “The only petite clutch I understand is the one next to the brake.

The good news! I figured out how to commune with my spirit animal.
The bad news! He bites.

I haven’t gone shopping yet this week so I ran out of bread. Crouton sandwiches are about the cutest little things I ever did see.

I took the juicer out to tinker with a recipe. My observation for today–there is a reason we cannot just buy banana juice.

I ordered some of that Crepe Erase. Now I got a pile o’ nekkid bananas and Nutella on my plate. Damn infomercials.

I’m writing a musical about my life and I’m calling it Forklift Driver’s Gender Neutral Offspring.
I’ve already invited Sissy Spacek to direct.

I reprogrammed the Roomba for long-distance travel. I arrive in Naperville in about 3 days. See you there!

What is this alleged almond bark you speak of? I’ve never heard them make a sound.

I mixed up the Static Guard with a can of lemon Pledge. I’m still a little static-y but my polar fleece jacket is fabulously shiny and lemony fresh.

Being a child of the 70s prepared me for the world in unique ways. For example, I usually carry a books of matches, a bobby pin and a deck of cards in case someone unexpectedly wants to make a deal. I keep an eye out so I ALWAYS know where the beef is. I know who shot JR and I’m ready to talk. And my car is completely outfitted in the event that some stranger pulls up alongside me at an intersection and says, “Excuse me, Sir. Do you happen to have any grey poop on?” We can talk later about this tendency people have to call me Sir all the time.

I finally finished the make-over on the guest room. For those of us who journeyed through long coming out processes in the 70s and 80s, these rooms are also occasionally called the “dummy bedroom” where the “roommate” sleeps, with whom we are “just friends”. I’ve decided to keep that term even though I live alone, in an effort to convince me that I’m friends with myself. Closet humor. It’s been a long time!

Wishing you a year of much laughter and silliness~

41608655_10214563570756515_4471285921227997184_n

 

The storms this past week have been hard on my peach tree. I watched all through the spring as the hard, fuzzy golfballs grew, blushed, developed an ever-so-slightly detectable give. They all come into peak at the same time so there’s one week each summer that is dedicated to collecting and processing, and the Ball jar collection on my shelves and in my freezer starts to increase.  One of my best recipes is my own creation—Uncle Nando’s Pee-Wee Jam. It’s a peach kiwi combination, and totally worth the effort of homemade.

I don’t really fancy myself a farmer. I adore the idea of homesteading but my job reality is that I also appreciate the convenience of running to the store for goat cheese because my only contact with goats is on Facebook when friends leave them on my page. There’s a definite leaning toward goats in pajamas, but that’s never a deal breaker.

So I was looking forward to this week of collecting and processing and my expanding family of canning jars. I waited for the first round of storms to pass to venture out in the yard. Once the rain cleared, it immediately became beastly hot again, so all of the outdoor entomos were present in full force.

I practice organic gardening. I say I practice because it always seems to be a learning curve and is sometimes more successful than others. I guess that means I practice organic peaches and cherries too.  The peaches can get a tad sunburned, making their little shoulders a little rough (and who can’t relate to that after a certain age?), and just as they reach peak, I have to wave off the gnats and the ants and sometimes the bees.

Did I mention that I’m not so much of a farmer?  The idea makes me chuckle. I wouldn’t know most large bugs from a new Fiat. Does it walk? Does it fly? Does it have a stick shift?  As long as it doesn’t bother me, I don’t mind sharing.

This week, when I made my trek to the back yard for picking day, it was already way too warm for a  post storm day. I took my handy green bin and stood beneath the weighted branches, looking my favorite tree up and down. Most of the ready-to-be-picked fruit lay in the mulch and grass, knocked free of their stems by the previous night’s torrential downpour and winds.  A few remained stubbornly attached and I reached for those, confidently waving off the gnats that joined me for the adventure.

It wasn’t a huge surprise they’d been knocked down, since earlier in the day, I noted that all of the portajohns in the construction zone on the tollway had blown over sideways.  Peaches are somewhat lighter and less intimidating than your average portajohn.

On the first reach, I noted new winged friends. Oh….they were pretty. I hadn’t seen such critters before. They were black and white striped, hovering over some of the damaged peaches. I wondered what kind of fruit fly they were. There were dozens of them. Maybe hundreds.  I shooed a few off the peach I wanted to put in my bin. They moved amiably over to the next available fruit or settled on ones on the ground. I shooed again. They moved again, yielding territory and their food to me.  I thanked them. I also complimented them on their snappy white and black striped rugby shirts. I told them they were very dashing. They buzzed happily and we worked together for a little while longer.

Later that afternoon, with the remaining peaches reclining comfortably in the kitchen, I popped onto Facebook for a minute. The first thing I ran across was a meme about Yellow Striped Stingy Things, depicting all kinds of bees.  Curious, I opened a new screen and did a quick search for black and white flies.

Rut ro. Did I mention that I’m not a farmer?  Yyyyyeaah.  I’m quick like that. They weren’t flies.  Not even close. They’re bald faced hornets, and they can be aggressive when their food source is at risk. Like…you know…when you’re standing under their peach tree, competing with dozens of  them for fruit and trying to shoo them away.

Why would they have been so reasonable?  Then I started to laugh. There was fermenting fruit on the ground under the tree.  Fermenting fruit. Wine, dammit. They were drinking and eating peach wine. The little bastards were so happy because they were drunk!

THAT’s why I recognized them! They were like a group of rowdy, winged, drunk Irishmen who just want to buy you a pint and sing with you!  “Heeeeyyyyyy, mate! Pull up a peach tree! Sit on that rock and have a nip!” I know those guys! Oh hell, I grew up with those guys!

Not too much survived the storms this week. We won’t have any Uncle Nando’s Pee-Wee Jam.  I waited all year for what I would make this week and got blindsided by an enormous, unexpected storm that wiped out most of what I’d been waiting for. It happens. It is a good thing I’m not doing the serious homestead thing. I’d be sunk. But I did make some new friends who were wearing very snappy black and white rugby shirts and got a good laugh in the process, which beats the hell out of a trip to the ER any day!

Have a day of silliness, friends!

peaches

Indoor/Outdoor Entomos

Posted: August 17, 2018 in Blog
Tags: , , ,

Here’s a familiar topic for my readers. It’s summer, after all. How could we get through a whole summer and I haven’t done one entomo post? So I have to do it. Many posts back, we determined that I have entomophobia—the fear of insects. Not ALL insects. Centipedes. Specifically, house centipedes.

https://urbantidepool.com/2014/12/16/if-you-knew-what-bugged-me/

https://urbantidepool.com/2017/03/27/bad-ass-adulting-in-entomo-season/

It’s even been a subject of Facebook posts for me. “Somewhere in a parallel universe, there’s a bug version of Criminal Minds playing out and investigators are standing over dismembered centipedes saying, ‘Given this level of overkill, this is clearly the work of a centiped-acidal maniac.’  Yes. Arrest me now.”

I do battle with the entomos at least once a year. My new and growing friendship with the Orkin man makes a statement that is clear and concise and includes none of the stuttering that I am prone to when I speak to someone I think is cute. (Slow down, Tiger. That’s a story for another day.) Plainly, entomos are not welcome here. I come by this phobia honestly after summers spent with my brother who was stationed in Mississippi and then in Florida where bugs were so big they should have been assigned their own zip code.  I now choose to live in the land of blizzards and subzero temps for a reason: minimal bugs.

Hence, it was a surprise to me this week while I was changing laundry from the washer to the dryer to be rushed by an entomo with way too many legs.  I’m certain he was snapping and snarling at me, as they do, unless you find them wearing a shower cap and standing in the bathtub with you. It totally brings out the butch warrior in me. I can neither confirm nor deny the things that may or may not have happened right at that moment of us recognizing each other.

  1. I squeaked at a pitch that I will never be able to reach on a normal day
  2. I grabbed hold of my pant legs and hiked them 8 inches above my sneakers
  3. I got on the phone and booked a cruise to Alaska
  4. I stomped on it so hard I thought I may have sprained my ankle
  5. A, B and D

If you picked E, sorry. I’ll send you a postcard from Anchorage.

No, seriously, if you picked E, you may now have an image in your head that won’t go away for days. My apologies. You probably did not wake up this morning wondering if I ever wear Life is Good quarter socklets in a smashing cadet blue color. But there they were. In my defense, when I cleaned up the mess, I had to wipe extra legs off my sneaker and I won’t get that image out of my head for a while either. I think you got the better end of the deal with the socklets image.

Anyway…

It was right at that moment that I realized that this was not an ordinary house entomo. This was a garden entomo, the kind I see when I dig or move something that has been sitting on soil for a while. This guy did not belong in the house.

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a fleeting touch of regret as I contemplated about 42 twitching limbs. His, not mine. (You’re welcome.) I mean, what if he wasn’t really snapping and snarling at me? What if I only THOUGHT he was snapping and snarling at me but he was lost and confused on a tile floor and he was running toward me to wave me down and ask directions? Just like our dads did when we got lost on vacation. (Yeah. Don’t get me started there.) Or maybe it’s like that spider meme—What if that spider you just killed thought you were his roommate? Sure, you didn’t think about that. You only think about yourself.

Don’t judge.

Sometimes, I guess, the best you can do is hike your pant legs 8 inches above your sneakers and squeak and try to carry on. It’s all in a day’s work for a bad ass who’s trying to adult. Or (more appealing) we can just plan to meet in Juneau. That’s good too.

fear

 

When last we parted company, starfish supporters, we were chatting about my dubious status as an athletic carbon-based wonder and my adventures in the marine world that left me with seaweed down my Tweedle Dum pants and arguing with the control panel of a nervy lap pool that had just blown my board shorts off. My aquatic prowess  is impressive. I move like a manatee with a hangover. The fact that I also move like that on land is worthy of its own post sometime later. In the meantime, there was another topic that occurred to me to explore with y’all.

Today’s post won’t apply to all readers.  Please take what you wish and leave the rest here.

This whole aging process is a kick, turning into an adventure in and of itself, wondering what my body will (or won’t) do next. I’m fascinated by the fact that no one really tells us what to expect as we move up in age. I think we’re supposed to absorb that information by observing folks around us who lead the way.

I became suspicious that aging was sneaking up on me one morning when I peeked in the mirror and noticed that the lines I’d seen on my sister’s neck  had mysteriously crept into my house overnight and attached themselves to MY neck. Alarmed, I called her to ask if hers were missing and did she want these back. Always the colorful character, she responded with, “Up yours!” and hung up on me.

The day I glanced down at the steering wheel and saw my father’s hands instead of my own almost caused a five car pile-up.  At first, I thought I was stuck in A Tale from the Crypt, but then realized A) I probably read way too much Stephen King and B) it was just my new friend, the aging process, making itself known in another way.

Now, gardening season is almost upon us. There’s nothing I like better than gardening season. I’m ready. Tiny green things? Put me in, Coach!  Oh wait. I’m going to need a nap first. Until August.  That should do it. It will also make for the shortest gardening season in history. But true to my South Philly roots, if I have to participate in this whole aging thing, I plan to channel the old Italian man who lived down the street from me as a kid. It will require growing roses and then yelling Italian swear words at anyone who gets close to them. “Youse bleeping kids! Get away from my bleeping roses! Bleeping move! Now, bleep it! BLEEEEEEP!”

This messes with your hearing, for sure. People I used to speak to regularly now mumble. To get even with them, I’ve just stopped speaking to them. That’ll learn ‘em. My sister used to accuse ME of mumbling. Now I know what she meant.  Now that we really can’t hear each other, we talk much more often! No, I have no idea about what. Was that a requirement?

It messes with your sleep too. I have all the energy in the world at 3 am and then look and feel like something the dogs dragged in out of the rain at 3 pm. I noticed that as my sleep changed, everything got on my nerves. On my last nerve. In fact, my last nerve was writing advance directives, it was so bad.

A couple of years ago during a conversation with one of the Youth Outlook staff, I found myself thinking, “Go ahead. Keep talking to me and I’ll rip your lips off your face.” I didn’t SAY it. Just the fact that I was thinking it, though, struck me as odd. Who talks that way to that staff person? She’s one the kindest people on the planet. Wow, that sleep disturbance thing can wreck your whole decade. I mean, day. Day. Yeah. Day!

I did eventually mention these odd occurrences to my doc. She laughed. I was not in a laughing mood, given that last nerve writing its advance directives mess. When she stopped laughing…and I do wonder about so many of my health providers having to stop what they’re doing because they’re laughing too hard to continue…she announced, “Oh honey, you don’t have to put up with THAT. I can help you.” That was when I started taking a sleep aid which has created a subplot of adventures all by itself. In the truest sense, yes, it does help me sleep. It’s what I do WHILE I’m sleeping that is of some concern.

Last summer, I went to bed one night and awoke about two hours later. Or at least I thought I was awake. Apparently I also thought it was a good idea to go on Facebook. I don’t know exactly what I was trying to do but I ended up going on to the page of a new acquaintance, capturing one of her photos, reposting it on my page and giving it a status update of “Feeling Fabulous!” Mind you, we were not Facebook friends at the time and I have never in my life used the words “Feeling Fabulous!” as a complete sentence.  The next morning, my phone blew up with texts from friends all over the country. “Who is that?” “Why have you been holding out on us?”  “Who’s the chick?”  I had no idea what they were talking about. Who is who? Holding out on what? What chick?  Because knowing  the photos I normally post on Facebook, we were probably talking about an actual chick. Yellow. Fuzzy. Cheep cheep. You get the picture.

When I went on Facebook to find out what people were talking about, my hair caught fire. Aaaaagggghhhhhh!!! No! No! No! Abort! Abort! I couldn’t message the acquaintance fast enough and fall over myself trying to explain that I was asleep when I did it. Thankfully, the new acquaintance had a good sense of humor and no harm, no foul. The phone needed to sleep in the kitchen after that.

I can’t say the same for that morning at the conference. Last fall, a group of Youth Outlook folks went to a training that was to last two days. Halfway through the first day, the facilitators informed us that there would be a meeting for all executive directors at 7:30 am on Day 2. Oh no. No no no. That’s not do-able. My job is mostly afternoons and evenings and has been for twenty years. I don’t do 7:30 am meetings. No coherently, anyway. I looked around the room and all of the other EDs were nodding yes, of course they’d be there. It seemed a normal request for them.

Not wanting to be the odd man out and very much wanting to do what I could to support my team in this training, I decided I’d have to take the hit and go to the morning meeting. I’d have to time when to ingest my sleep aid so that it would be cleared out and I would be coherent. Coherent is so encouraged in these jobs. Go figure.

So I did. I timed it, got in bed early enough for it to wear off before I needed to get to that meeting. The next morning, I woke up early, knowing I need at least one hour with my feet on the floor before I feel fully alert. I showered, made some in-room coffee, and got dressed. I even managed to dress myself like an executive director. I was on target to get to that meeting on time. The last stop was to pop into the bathroom and brush my teeth before exiting the room. And I promptly brushed my teeth with the estrogen cream in my shower kit.

I guarantee you, it does not taste like mint.

I did still get to the meeting on time, but the entire time I sat there, I wanted to turn to the man from Ohio sitting next to me and drag my tongue up his sleeve to get the estrogen cream taste out of my mouth.

I’ll have you know that at NO time did my doc call that day and tell me, “Oh honey, you don’t have to put up with THAT!”

Unruly neck lines. Tales from the Crypt hands on the steering wheel. Sleep Facebooking. Estrogen toothpaste. There is a LOT to put up with as we age and so few of us see it coming.

What did I come in this room for? BLEEEP!

Probably the most unfortunate thing of all is what my new friend, the aging process, has done to my hair. No, I don’t mean just that it has gone grey. I can live with that. My brother, The Major, had gone entirely white in his late 40s and he looked like a testy Santa Claus. (And he never had the chance to brush his teeth with estrogen cream, dammit!) It’s the OTHER things that this has done to my hair that I hadn’t counted on. For instance, I’ve always had the father’s hairline. Too bad I got the mother’s hair to fill it in, but there’s nothing to do about THAT now. His hairline shifted as he aged, invading lower on his temples until it started to fill in, which is the reverse of how I’ve understood that hair is supposed to behave. I’ve noticed mine doing the same thing, but sadly, it’s doing that at the same time that my eyebrows are greying out and getting harder to see, while the lowering hairline is more pronounced. Yes. It is unusual. It looks like a small stampede of confused fuzzy brown caterpillars fleeing up my temples with one albino caterpillar with alopecia bringing up the rear on either side.

A friend introduced me to one of those neat “color in your eyebrows” magic sticks last year.  I think I got it right. I had to blend the whole front of my head, and that took about two hours so I missed the engagement I was getting ready for, but when it was done, my caterpillars were even and in the right places and I looked smashing…as I spent what was left of the evening feeding popcorn to the dogs and watching Netflix. But my eyebrows were fabulous.

Older friends have teased me for a while about if I was to grow a beard or not. I waited for this alleged beard to arrive and finally came to the conclusion that it might be the only factor of my new friend, the aging process, that I might not have to deal with.  Until that memorable night I was driving home from work and a tractor trailer fell in behind me with its blare-y white lights. I happened to look in the mirror at him but where HE was suddenly was of no interest. I had never had a reason to have such glaring light behind me. Now that it was there, I realized I wasn’t growing a beard—I was growing fine, blonde muttonchops, and when backlit, I could pass for Ambrose Bernside. Or a bleeping Founding Father.

There are a lot of things I’ve aspired to in life. A Founding Father hair-do was never on the list. Actually that’s more like a hair-don’t. For now I will just marvel at it. I have to. I am an aging carbon-based wonder.

geritol

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I am clear on the fact that I will never impress anyone with my athletic ability. That’s been the case throughout my life, even as a young person when I was actively playing softball and racquetball. It’s fun. It moves me around.

People talk about exercise all the time. Parents talk to kids. Teachers talk to students. Doctors to patients. And Michelle Obama to the entire world. Awesome.  I enjoy it when I engage. Plus this is the time of life when doing these big feats (as opposed to big feet, which will end up in a later post) rate some attention.  I am told swimming is also a good option for aging parts and reducing wear and tear but I can admit to some reluctance about swimming.

I have friends who do triathlons. I have friends who used to lifeguard at the beach. Let’s be clear. I marvel at these people. Confidentially, I have also wanted to ask if their toes are webbed, but I haven’t worked up the nerve. I know, I know. I break all the stereotypes about lesbians and being athletically inclined. Or at least having webbed toes. But I digress.

Would now be a good time to describe my last couple of adventures with swimming? Although, I am aware that many folks would not consider the first adventure to be swimming as much as it was… lying around…on the ocean floor. It happened while I was surf casting in North Carolina. I had the requisite casting rod and the requisite chest-high rubber pants that made me look like Tweedle Dum.  In other words, I looked great! Very sporty! Like I knew what the hell I was doing! So, with rod in hand, I waded out into the water and commenced my adventure.

I was quite comfy in my Tweedle Dum pants and feeling distinctly sorry for those fish I was on a mission to land. My feet sunk a little into the sand, the heavy rubber boots settling and the sand filling around them, creating a vacuum.  When the random big wave began to build, I did see it coming, but far too late. It built both speed and height too quickly for me to pull my feet out of that sand vacuum.

I couldn’t do it, and when that wave slammed over me, it hit with enough force topple me backwards, taking me underwater.

There was a problem with that whole underwater thing. Several problems, really.  My chest-high Tweedle Dum pants filled up with water immediately. The second problem was it was the beginning of March in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of North Carolina. That water was COLD. All of me was COLD. And the third problem, piling on the recognition of the other two problems was that with my Tweedle Dum pants filled up and the pressure of the water on top of me, I was pinned to the ocean floor, and I could not sit or stand up. Nor did I have gills. It occurred to me very quickly that I was going to drown in about three feet of very cold water. I blinked at the absurdity of it and wiggled in the weighted pants to see where there might be a weak spot as I breathed out a stream of bubbles to ascend to the surface.

A burb-bly approach heralded two of my friends who’d been standing on the beach rushing into the surf and disembodied hands grabbed my arms and the Tweedle Dum shoulder straps, dragging me—fishing rod still in hand– upwards and onto the sand.  Earlier that day when I’d proposed going out fishing, they both offered to come. I thought they might get bored standing around talking and watching me fish. Let’s pause to consider how this would have gone on that otherwise deserted beach, had they not opted to chat outside that morning so that they saw when I went down.

I knew it was all going to be okay when the one friend, an Episcopal priest, shoved me into a hot shower rather than offer me last rites. Not that I would have heard her giving me last rites–I had ocean water in both ears and I was distracted by a slight seaweed-y smell.

Yeah. I’m not sure you’d call that swimming. Or fishing! I’d call it a near-death experience but I think that detracts from the near-life experiences that I have most days.

My second adventure with swimming in more recent years was much more domestic.  Friends had a lap pool built and invited us over to check it out. I am now rather cautious about outdoor water, but indoor water still feels safe enough to navigate, so I was looking forward to this. I got all suited up and, following the directions of my host, I approached the front control panel that could have been designed by NASA.

“It’s really powerful, so be ready for it.”

Okay, this I was ready for. I touched the buttons in the sequence he recommended. The jets kicked on with a force that swept my feet out from under me and blew my board shorts right off. I clung to the Oh Dear bar for stability at the front of the pool in just my tank and my shorts bobbed peacefully at the far end.

After shooing my gracious host out of the room, I let the jets carry me to the other end to retrieve my shorts and redressed myself. Then I got out of the pool while the gittin’ was good. That was two for two. Obviously I am not engineered to be off dry land for any length of time.

Yeah. I know. That didn’t qualify as swimming either. But it flattened my spikes and isn’t that one of the evaluating criteria for any kind of exercise?

I get it. You don’t have to compliment me. I am an athletic carbon-based wonder. The wonder is usually about how I get into these situations in non-contact sports!

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Wow, these online dating websites are quite popular. I used a couple of them, myself, in addition to some Meet Up groups in my effort to make new friends following my gay-divorce.  (When you get gay-married, you have to get gay-divorced.) Curious process, this. While I did meet a few folks who became friends, I also had some experiences where I doubted that I was speaking the same language as the person with whom I was in contact. Up was down, black was white. Or grey. Or green. Women who claimed not to want drama were expert at creating it. One of the first women who spoke to me asked if I’d like to be Facebook friends and when I declined, she prowled through not-for-profit website after not-for-profit website until she found a photo of me and proudly told me how she tracked me down. I was totally creeped out. No did not mean no? I hadn’t hesitated. I had said NO. I began to wonder if there was a secret decoder ring that would help me understand some of the conflicting messages and language barriers.

Calling Capt’n Crunch! Ovaltine? Anyone?

Alas, not finding a decoding system, I finally decided to write my own.

Mind you, it wasn’t all bad. I like my new friends. They’re kind, decent folks who really were okay with the fact that I was just looking for friends, who became bike ride companions, hiking companions, lunch or let’s-get-coffee companions. Sometimes we compare notes on their experiences on the dating sites and what I saw, and we have found some remarkable similarities. That could be because it seems like it’s the same 40 or 50 women on all of the sites over and over again, so there’s bound to be some similarities.

I suspect these findings are not limited to lesbian dating websites. I suspect cis-het folks get their share of comments like these, as well as people who try to convince them that up is down and black is white. Or grey. Or green. In fact, several of my straight friends howled with laughter when I read this to them and then said, “It’s not just the lesbians doing that, baby!”  I can’t speak to that, though, as it’s been a long time since I went in search of a maaa-yun, or as I sometimes called my housemate, “An XY.” So take these with a grain of salt. Or even a shaker full of it, depending on your own experiences.

For the record, I am open to the idea that I just suck at meeting new people but if that’s the case, it’s a fairly new phenomenon. Like since I turned 50. I mean, it’s entirely possible that my ability to make friends has gone by way of “What did I come in this room for?” that we 50+ folks tolerate of ourselves on a daily basis. I do, however, recall some coaching in grad school about how when you repeatedly walk out of a conversation scratching your head, genuinely puzzled, wondering, “What the hell just happened here?”, it’s also entirely possible that the issue is not yours.

So who knows for sure? Let’s keep the door open to the idea that when I am faced with potential new friends, I draw a blank and can’t remember what I came in this room for. Maybe it’s an ongoing cycle of walking back to my office with a Diet Coke when I really needed to go get some scissors, just with people, instead. I meant to go out and make a friend, but once I got out there, I forgot what I was doing and came back with a puppy, a new refrigerator and someone who really just wants to get married. These things are known to happen, right? While we’re at it, though, let’s also make room for the idea that quite a few of these conversations truly deserved a head scratch and a “What the hell just happened here?”

Here is a list of the comments I heard and saw most frequently, coupled with the things I believe to be the unspoken real statement behind what was said outwardly.

No drama! Translation:  I’m going to treat you poorly and then when you protest, I’m going to complain about the drama you’re creating. Do NOT call me on my shit.

No baggage! Translation:  I have no true desire to get to know you or share with you anything that makes me real, usually because I don’t know what that is. Let’s just figure out if I want to get in your underroos or not, and then we can be done.

No drama/no baggage! Translation:  I’m an absolute asshole.

I’m all about living in the moment.  Translation: What? There are people who actually write about and speak on the topic of mindfulness and it doesn’t mean I really just wanna get laid tonight without complications??? People study this shit? Are you sure?

Feminine only. Translation:  I’m still married and my husband will be involved.

Femmes only.  Translation:  I’m still in the closet and you have to pass as my platonic girlfriend.

Must like to laugh. Translation:  I can’t think of anything else to say about myself because I have no idea who I am.

Sports fan.  Translation:  I can’t have a conversation longer than 4 or 5 sentences that doesn’t involve some sports reference.

Sure, we can be friends, Version 1. Translation: But only until I find someone to date, then I can’t be your friend anymore.

Sure, we can be friends, Version 2.  Translation:  But only until you confirm that you don’t really want to date me, then I won’t be interested in being friends anymore and I’ll blow you off until you get the point, although I’ll never actually admit this out loud.

Sure, we can be friends, Version 3.  Translation:  Whatever, I’m about to ghost you.

No, I don’t want to be in a relationship, either.  Translation: …Unless you want me to be.

I am looking for my soulmate.  Translation:  I can’t make a decision on my own and need someone else to fill in the gaps in my wounded psyche. Please take over the decision making in my life so that when things go wrong, I have someone else to blame and I can be bitter and angry at you forever.

I am looking for my other half.  Translation:  I’ve seen too many Nicholas Sparks movies OR I attempted to recreate a scene from a Harry Potter movie that involved flue powder or splinching and…ooops… (As an aside, this comment often confused me. Don’t people generally want to date and make friends with other people who are already whole all by themselves?)

I am looking for my best friend.  Translation:  I’ve somehow managed to make it to 50 without making any friends, so if we start hanging out together, you have to promise to be EVERYTHING to me because I have no other life.

Family is really important to me, Version 1.  Translation:  Saying I’m doing anything with my family is a good excuse for when I don’t feel like getting together with you.

Family is really important to me, Version 2.  Translation:  I am a single parent and have three kids under 10. Or my grown children all still live in my house. Or I’m the sole caretaker for my aging parent(s), so getting on my calendar to do ANYTHING is impossible, but thanks, it makes me feel really good that you were interested. No, we don’t need to meet in person. I just wanted to introduce myself to a bunch of strangers so they could all know that family is really important to me and that I am unavailable.

I’m spiritual.  Translation:  I don’t give much thought to spirituality at all or how it influences my life. I don’t have an affiliation with any faith community, but I believe in something—I just don’t think about it. But I believe in it. I just don’t think about it. Go ahead. Ask me. You want another beer?

I know we said we’d do something today but now…  Translation:  You’re not on the priority list. You’re not even close to the priority list. But I’d like you to be available the next time I don’t have anything going on, so please keep your calendar clear.

I’m sooooo busy.  Translation:  I didn’t really want to be connected to you, I just want you to chase me.

Sorry I have to break our plans (followed by no attempts to make new plans).  Translation:  A lack of time with you doesn’t mean anything to me…and frankly, neither did having time with you, I just didn’t know how to tell you.

I’m not even sure WHY I set up a profile on that website!  Translation:  Please don’t ask about the other four dating sites I’m also on, there’s no need to talk about THOSE. Nothing to see here, people, nothing to see!

I’m looking for a long term relationship.  Translation:  I want someone who is physically stunning, has a great job with an awesome paycheck, is an elite athlete but still exquisitely feminine, can prioritize me immediately, and lives two houses down because I don’t want to put any work into having to get to the same space she’s in. I don’t drive or own a car, I’m more interested in the size of her waistline than the size of her heart, my conversation skills are limited to, “You have a great smile,” but hey, I’m a find—just ask me how much!

Head scratching and puzzled looks aside, I do tend to be a bit of a smart ass. That needs no translation. I’ll just own that. If you’ve gone exploring in the wild world of online introductions and potential dating without being ghosted, benched, or zombied, I wish you nothing but the best. If you have been ghosted, benched, or zombied, I’m sorry. We’re all grown ups here and it’s a reasonable expectation that another grown up’s communication skills would be better than those three options. But if you find yourself scratching and puzzling, you might want to consider your own decoder system. (Well, after 25 years of working in HIV services, if you find yourself scratching, that might be a topic for another blog—get that to the nearest clinic!)

Until next time, decoding fans!

decoder ring

 

 

 

A Facebook post from last spring:

Somewhere in a parallel universe, there’s a bug version of Criminal Minds playing out and investigators are standing over dismembered centipedes saying, “Given this level of overkill, this is clearly the work of a centipeda-cidal maniac.” Yes. Arrest me now.

I make no exoskeletons about my centipede phobia. I’ve written about it before. Unless you share this phobia, you may have no idea how difficult it is to maintain an image of being a bad ass while shrieking and coming all from-gether (the opposite of TOgether). It’s been a while since I worried about the Lesbian Association of the Midwest—fondly known as LAM in these parts– dispatching Spike the tow truck driver to show up at my house, run a big hook through my LAM membership card, and repossess it due to my bug related meltdowns.

It’s that time of year again. Centipede season. As a person who detests any critter with more than four legs and fewer than two, you can imagine how well this sits with me. I’m still dealing with last season.

Try to get a visual. I arrived home from a late meeting and Chip, my 100-pound Black Lab mix, was snoozing on the end of my bed. Channeling my inner bad ass, I melted as I always do when Chip is in sleepy-gentle mode instead of his typical bull-in-a-china-shop mode. I leaned on the bed, ruffling his ears and smoothing his fur speckles. He made a contented sound and stretched. I petted him for a minute or so, then I straightened up with the intention of prodding him off the bed so I could get into it, as he tends to take up most of it. Grabbing a handful of blanket and top sheet, I flipped the covers back.

An enormous centipede, maybe four inches long, ran out of the sheets and down the bed. It was not a regular centipede. Those are maybe an inch long and kind of grey. This was huge and sort of red and gold. It was bug royalty.

Grabbing for the first thing I could use a weapon, I realized quickly there wasn’t a lot I could do with Chip’s tail. On a good day, Chip’s tail is a marvel, sweeping table tops clear and leaving cylindrical bruises on my shinbones. At that moment, it did nothing for me. So I grabbed a sneaker. I knocked the dodgy little bastard off my bed and proceeded to beat him to a pile of extra legs and an occasional jerky kick. Here, I am referring to the centipede, not Chip. I’d be more likely to refer to Chip as a dodgy big bastard.

Okay. I handled it. Not well, but I did handle it. THAT was disgusting.

I paced the house, unsettled, entomophobia in full gear. I had no interest in going to get into THAT bed anymore, even as tired as I was and even though it gnawed at my bad ass-ness. Chip relocated to the living room, apparently unrattled by my prowling from window to window, peeking out to see if the LAM tow truck was slinking down my driveway. It took an hour or so, but I managed to clear the buggy energy from my room and was able to go to bed.

When I woke the next morning, I knew that the house was simply not big enough for me and any random entomo. They had to go. I suited up for buggy battle, armed with some fabulous Bug X. I swept the entire first floor, chuckling to myself. Take THAT, entomos!

But I wasn’t quite done. This situation required MORE. It required the ultimate in bad ass home ownership skills. The next morning, I suited up again, attaching a sprayer of outdoor Bug X to the hose and spraying the outside of the whole house, paying close attention to windows and doors.  I was careful to shoo the bees away so they were not in the direct path of Bug X. I like bees. They do not fall in the phobia category.

I felt quite proud of myself as I finished up the last side of the house. Bring on the adulting skills. I was ready. I turned the water off and started to unscrew the sprayer attachment.

It didn’t occur to me in all of my bad ass adulting that I should relieve some of the pressure in the hose before I unscrewed it. On the second twist, the remaining pressure forced water to erupt between the threads, spraying backwards according to some unknown (at least to me) rule of physics. Or maybe it was just Murphy’s law. He was a good Irishman. He would understand these things.

I was instantly drenched from head to legs. In pesticide.

The sprayer flew out of my hand and I bobbled the hose in surprise, soaking my jeans and sneakers with cold water. It was one of the moments where you stand there dripping (and don’t try to tell me that you NEVER stand around dripping) and you think, “That did NOT just happen.”

I blinked through the mist. As I watched droplets of pesticide drip off my shirt and I spit vehemently into the evergreen shrub, the next thing that crossed my mind was, “Somebody needs to clean this mess up.” Since I was doing this alleged adulting, that could only be me.

I figured I should go get out of my pesticide soggy clothes. But first I would clean up. Should I go to the ER? No, I should get this off my skin. Skin? I spit into the evergreen shrub again. Skin?!  I got it in my mouth! Oh!

The folks at Poison Control are very nice, just in case you’ve ever wondered.

“Have you noticed any twitching?”

“Twitching?”

“It’s a neurotoxin. If you start twitching, you should get to the ER right away.”

Oooookay. That’s helpful. Spraying oneself with a neurotoxin can take so much fun out of adulting!

It turned out that I didn’t twitch. A couple of weeks later, I received a letter of commendation from LAM citing me for courage and going above and beyond the call of duty for my efforts to create an entomo-free zone while actively engaging in bee-shoo-ing.

Out of curiosity, I looked up some info on an exterminator website. Do you know if you have a significant problem with centipedes, you can lay down glue traps to track their traffic and see where they are most active? It’s not considered a solution really, because the dodgy little bastards will simply leave a few legs behind on the glueboard and go about their business of scaring people senseless and grow new legs! When I read that, I stared at the laptop screen thinking, “And how does THIS help me? Now I KNOW there’s a centipede in here somewhere—probably running in circles because it has more legs on one side than on the other—but I don’t know where it is.”

Still I congratulated myself on successful adulting and bad ass-ness and a lack of twitching. Until I saw the next one. THAT made me twitch. By then, I was calling the LAM headquarters and requesting that Spike swing by and pick up my membership ‘cause I couldn’t take another drenching in entomo spray. Right after I called the exterminator company and requested a special home visit.

I knew my reputation was slipping when the exterminator company rep showed up and said, “I hear you got some nasties.”

And all I could think to say back was, “Hold me?”

Spike would be mortified.

It’s Dodgy Little Bastard season again. All you bad asses out there, be careful!

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